New Bears coach Matt Nagy comes from good stock — the Andy Reid coaching tree

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New Bears head coach Matt Nagy (right) has spent the last 10 seasons as an assistant coach under Andy Reid (left). He was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator the past two seasons. (Orlin Wagner/AP)

Matt Nagy comes to the Bears without a glamorous resume, but with a pretty good lineage.

Until we meet Nagy and see who he hires and how he runs an NFL team, how he develops a quarterback and manages an actual game, his most compelling attribute is the Andy Reid coaching tree that produced him. Nagy has spent the last 10 seasons with Reid: five with the Eagles from 2008-12; and the last five with the Chiefs — as quarterbacks coach in 2013-15 and offensive coordinator in 2016-17.


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While Bill Belichick disciples have come and gone without much accomplishment over the years, Reid’s proteges have a relatively impressive record:

  • John Harbaugh, Reid’s special teams coordinator with the Eagles (and secondary coach for one season) won a Super Bowl with the Ravens.
  • Ron Rivera, Reid’s linebackers coach for five seasons with the Eagles, reached the Super Bowl with the Panthers and has made the playoffs four of the last five seasons.
  • Doug Pederson, Nagy’s predecessor as offensive coordinator for Reid with the Chiefs (who also worked with Reid for four seasons with the Eagles), went 13-3 with the Eagles this season —the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
  • Sean McDermott, who spent 12 seasons as a defensive coach for Reid with the Eagles, coached the Bills (9-7) to their first playoff berth in 18 years this season.

Among the other former Reid assistants to get NFL head coaching jobs are Todd Bowles (Jets), Leslie Frazier (Vikings), Brad Childress (Vikings), Pat Shurmur (Browns) and Steve Spagnuolo (Rams).

Reid himself comes from an impressive coaching tree under Mike Holmgren. In 1992, Holmgren’s staff included Steve Mariucci, Jon Gruden, Ray Rhodes, Dick Jauron and Reid — all of whom became NFL head coaches.

Like Nagy, Reid was a relative unknown and a surprise choice when he was hired by the Eagles in 1999. He had been the Packers’ offensive line coach, then their quarterbacks coach when he leapfrogged several bigger names and established coordinators to get the job. In fact, it was Holmgren who recommended Reid to Eagles owner Jeff Lurie after turning down an opportunity to interview with the Eagles to take the Seahawks job.

Reid likewise has gone out of his way to support his assistants for head coaching jobs. With John Harbaugh stonewalled in his attempts to get a head coaching job — likely because of his status as a special teams coorinator —Reid made him a secondary coach for one season and that did the trick. The Ravens hired Harbaugh the next season.

So if Nagy’s hiring came with a Reid endorsement — as it so obviously did — it’s likely more than a head coach telling a young general manager what he wants to hear. NFL coaching hires are hit-and-miss — whether it’s a former Super Bowl winner, a red-hot coordinator or an outside-the-box guy. But we know one thing for sure about Matt Nagy — he comes from good stock.

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